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Antique Canadian First Nations Moccasins Native Indian Beaded Leather


Brand Poppy's Vintage Clothing

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I acquired this pair of First Nations moccasins some forty years ago from Miss Alice Lighthall, who was 91 years old at that time.  The Lighthall family was a very prominent Westmount (Montreal) family - her father William Douw Lighthall was Mayor of Westmount and a noted lawyer, historian, philosopher and author while her brother William was an early aviator and a member of the Flying Corps, participating in WWI aerial dogfights and credited with two kills.  Alice Lighthall worked as a V.A.D. (nurse) during WWI and became active in the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts - her mother Cybel Wilkes Lighthall was one of those who had founded it in 1906.  The Guild had a mission of promoting Canadian Handicrafts and in 1933 Alice Lighthall established the Guild’s Indian Committee, which had the mission of defending Indian interests, encouraging the creation of traditional crafts (such as these First Nations moccasins) and expanding the market for First Nations artwork.  

This pair of First Nations moccasins must have had some type of significance for Miss Lighthall to have kept them.  I’m unsure of their tribal affiliation, and although I would think probably of Eastern Canadian origin, possibly Cree or Algonquin, I’m not sure.  These First Nations moccasins have a seam down the centre of the vamp and high sides that can be folded down - the edges are serrated.  The glass beads have striking colour and definitely have age - the beadwork is quite fine (please note the close-up photos).   I’m unsure of the type of hide used to make these moccasins, but it is supple and soft while being somewhat robust.   Each of these First Nations moccasins measures 10” in length along the sole and have a width of 3 1/2”.  These First Nations moccasins are in very good condition with slight soiling on the sole, very clean inside and on the upper.

This is a wonderful pair of First Nations moccasins with good provenance - lovely native beadwork and craftsmanship!